Without in any sense giving backhanded cover for the inhuman EU migration and asylum policy, let’s note what has happened in the Balkans these last few days.
Razor wire was extended along the Hungary-Serbia border and the Greece-Macedonia border was blockaded by security forces on both sides.
All to throw up a second deadly echelon of traps and brutality to prevent onward movement by largely Syrian refugees who managed to survive the already dangerous crossing into Greece, into Europe.
Now – the Greek-Macedonian border is, in effect, open. It was opened by the refugees. Not by any international body. Not by the supposedly liberal EU institutions. No. It was opened by the despised and the downtrodden themselves – with their bare hands.
The consequence? The humanitarian crisis on that border is receding. It is closed borders which create such crises. When they are open, then people move. They are not corralled in dangerous and diseased encampments.
Even without what should be by right official help with resettlement, because they can move they find ways to get by, to get some sort of accommodation, spreading out quite naturally through Europe according to the hidden hand of the blessed market.
Now that – a kind of Economist, nightwatchman-state view of the world – is not my view nor, I suspect, yours.
But one thing should be clear – by tearing down the border, the refugees in Greece who wish to move throughout the continent have demonstrated precisely the practicability and morality of a policy of open borders.
They have forced the German state to increase the number of refugees it is prepared to take. And that is creating a breach between Angela Merkel and the hard right elements of her base. That opens up dangerous possibilities.
But at the same time – and a glance at the strong defence in German public opinion of refugees facing violence attests to this – there is an opportunity for this to become an heroic moment for the internationalist left.
And this is because: the refugees have torn down borders in the Balkans.